FBI investigation complicates Gorsuch nomination - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

FBI investigation complicates Gorsuch nomination

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WASHINGTON (AP) - The Latest on Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch (all times local):
    
11:33 a.m.
    
Judge Neil Gorsuch says he can't comment on whether former Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland was treated fairly.
    
Gorsuch is President Donald Trump's nominee to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Garland was originally nominated for the seat by former President Barack Obama, but he was blocked by Senate Republicans who said the next president should make the pick.
    
Gorsuch declared that he "can't get involved in politics," in response to a question from Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy. The nominee added that it would be "imprudent" for him to discuss political disputes.
    
Many Democrats are still furious that Republicans blocked Garland, and several have mentioned his failed nomination in their statements and questioning.
    
___
    
10:53 a.m.
    
Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch says several cases in which he has ruled for corporations over workers "don't represent the body of my work."
    
Democrats at his confirmation hearing are pointing to cases that include a ruling against a truck driver who claimed he'd been fired for abandoning his truck when it broke down in the cold.
    
Gorsuch said he has participated in 2,700 opinions, and he often ruled "for the little guy instead of the big guy."
    
Those include a case where Colorado landowners are settling with the state over improper handling of nuclear weapons waste, a pregnancy discrimination case and other pollution and harassment cases, he said.
    
He said he'd like to convey that he is "a fair judge."
    
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10:23 a.m.
    
Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch says he won't weigh in with his personal views on Roe vs. Wade or any other Supreme Court decision in his confirmation hearing.
    
Gorsuch was asked Tuesday by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley to discuss the case that legalized abortion nationwide. The nominee would only say it's a court precedent that has been reaffirmed many times. He gave similar answers to Grassley's questions about other important cases on such subjects as guns and campaign finance.
    
Gorsuch said if he were to discuss those cases, "I would be tipping my hand and suggesting to litigants that I have already made up my mind about cases."
    
He added: "I think that's the beginning of the end of the independent judiciary."
    
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9:46 a.m.
    
Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch says he has no trouble ruling against anyone, even President Donald Trump, if that's what the law requires.
    
Gorsuch is answering questions Tuesday in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Committee chairman Chuck Grassley kicked off the day by asking Gorsuch to explain his view of judicial independence.
    
Gorsuch said that he has "no difficulty ruling against or for any party."
    
___
    
9 a.m.
    
Some liberal interest groups and advocates are calling on the Senate to put off confirmation of President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee while the FBI is investigating possible links between the Trump campaign and Russia.
    
Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe tweeted Tuesday morning that it's a "sensible rule" to withhold approval for nominee Neil Gorsuch for as long as the investigation continues.
    
Gorsuch is to spend a long day Tuesday answering questions from members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
    
Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut is among those who already have tried to link the FBI probe to the nomination. Blumenthal said Monday that the prospect that the court could have to weigh in on the issue at some point is not "idle speculation."
    
___
    
3 a.m.
    
Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch faces hours of questioning from senators as frustrated Democrats are determined to press him on everything from abortion and guns to his independence from President Donald Trump.
    
Republicans are unanimously supporting Gorsuch, and certain to give him what cover they can as he appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee for Day 2 of his confirmation hearings on Tuesday. But Democrats made clear on the first day that they were in no mood to "rubber stamp a nominee selected by extreme interest groups and nominated by a president who lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes," as Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont put it.
    
Gorsuch himself sought to emphasize his strong belief in the separation of powers in his opening statement, pledging to be independent or "hang up the robe." Seeking to take the edge off Democratic complaints that he has favored the wealthy and powerful in more than 10 years as a federal judge, the 49-year-old Coloradan said he has tried to be a "neutral and independent" judge.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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